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Home > Feature Articles > Alternative Energy Solutions > Solar Energy

PG&E To Buy Solar Thermal Energy

About 58 percent of the power PG&E supplied to its customers last year came from sources that didn’t emit carbon dioxide.

Find green business solutions
california green energy solutions In what will likely be the first deal of many, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. announced in July, 2007 it signed a contract to buy 553 megawatts of solar thermal energy from Solel-MSP-1.

The deal puts PG&E closer to its goal of an energy supply portfolio that derives at least 20 percent from renewable sources, compared to 12 percent currently. California law mandates that the renewable energy must be delivered or under contract by 2010.

The Solel-MSP-1 agreement means PG&E now has contracts in place to provide 18 percent of future energy use from renewable sources. It is the fifth renewable energy contract announced this year by PG&E but all involved either traditional photovoltaic solar, wind or geothermal energy sources.

PG&E expects Solel-MSP-1 will bring Mojave Solar Park online in January of 2007. Solel-MSP-1 will finance and build the plant that will cover nine square miles in the Mojave Desert and capture the sun's heat using 1.2 million parabolic mirrors and 317 miles of vacuum tubing.

The parabolic mirrors concentrate solar energy onto solar thermal receivers, which contain a fluid that is heated and circulated until it generates steam. The steam powers the turbines to produce electricity that is delivered to the grid. The electricity will partially use the transmission infrastructure built for the now-defunct coal-fired Mojave Generation Station.

Solel recently upgraded some California solar facilities that generate more than 100 megawatts of solar energy. Overall, the Mohave Desert houses nine working solar thermal plants that generate 354 megawatts.

About 58 percent of the power PG&E supplied to its customers last year came from sources that didn’t emit carbon dioxide. In addition to the 12 percent generated from renewable sources, PG&E’s energy portfolio last year included 24 percent nuclear power from the Diablo Canyon Power Plant in San Luis Obispo County, and 22 percent of hydroelectric power generated in California and Oregon.



Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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